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Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage After Plastic Surgery in Reno, NV


After a plastic surgery procedure, swelling can occur around your incision sites and in the treated area. The lymphatic system collects excess fluid (lymphatic fluid) that drains from cells and tissues. This fluid usually carries toxins and other harmful substances away from healthy tissue.

However, surgical procedures can disrupt and overwhelm the lymphatic system. This can cause lymph fluid to accumulate without draining properly. Excess lymph fluid stuck in or around surgical sites can increase inflammation and swelling while inhibiting the healing process.

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What Is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?


Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massages can be performed to stimulate the movement of lymphatic fluid. This pushes excess lymph fluid back into the lymphatic system without increasing blood circulation in the affected area. Increased blood circulation can make it harder to identify and move excess lymph fluid.

This MLD process helps reduce swelling, inflammation, and pressure on incisions. Lymph drainage massages can also speed the healing process and reduce the risk of infection.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage Benefits

Reduces Swelling and Inflammation


The main benefit of manual lymphatic drainage is reducing swelling and inflammation around your surgical incisions and the treatment area. This process moves excess fluid away from your incisions and prevents toxic fluid buildup from causing tissue inflammation after surgery.

MLD massages can also stimulate your immune response, which can help prevent infection around your incision sites.

Removes Excess Lymph Fluid


After a surgical operation, the natural connections and flow of lymphatic fluid can be disrupted. This can cause lymph fluid to accumulate around incisions and the surgical site.

Lymphatic fluid transports toxic materials away from your cells and organs. A buildup of this fluid can cause toxins to accumulate, which can lead to complications. Restoring lymph flow prevents this buildup by moving excess lymph fluid back into circulation.

Prevents Fibrosis and Seroma Development


A potential risk of some types of plastic surgery (usually body contouring procedures, such as abdominoplasty or liposuction treatment) is the development of fibrosis or seromas. These conditions can occur if excess fluid builds up in tissue gaps that are left behind after surgery.

Lymph drainage massage can help prevent these complications by avoiding extensive fluid buildup in those areas. MLD can also drain the lymph fluid from those areas after it develops.

How Is Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage Performed?

Treatment Identification


The first step of your lymphatic massage is identifying where you need it. Your plastic surgeon can locate the target area in the first few days after your operation.

During your follow-up appointment after surgery, Dr. Bonaldi can examine your post-surgical condition and recommend an MLD massage if necessary.

Light Massage


During your manual lymphatic drainage massage, you will lie face up while your trained MLD therapist begins a series of light pumping and rotating motions. The massage will target your incision sites and your lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes are located in your neck, under your arms, and in your upper groin. There are also lymph nodes in your upper and lower torso.

Your lymph nodes and swollen incision sites will be gently pressed and rotated. This process moves excess lymph fluid back into the lymphatic system.

What Can I Expect After My Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Do I Need Recovery Time After a Lymphatic Massage?


No. Once your lymph massage is complete, you can resume your normal activities. Many patients who undergo MLD are still recovering from plastic surgery. Therefore, they may require some assistance with mobility both before and after their massage.

Is MLD Massage Painful?


Properly performed MLD massages should not be painful. You may experience minor discomfort if there is significant bruising around your incision site(s). MLD will help bruises fade faster, but they may still feel tender during your massage.

When Will I See My MLD Results?


After your lymph drainage therapy, you should start to see swelling and bruising fade over one to two weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions About Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage


  • Do you offer manual lymphatic drainage massages at your plastic surgery practice?

    Our medical aestheticians are trained to perform MLD massages. However, we only offer them for the face. We do not offer body MLD massages, but we would be happy to recommend you to someone who does.

  • How much does a manual lymphatic drainage massage cost in Reno, NV?

    Our facial MLD massages cost $75 each.

    The cost of your MLD massage may vary depending on the size and number of your treated areas as well as where you go for your massage. In general, the more incision locations you have, the longer your massage will take and the more your lymphatic drainage massage will cost.

  • How long does a manual lymphatic drainage massage take to perform?

    Our facial manual lymphatic drainage massages take about 45 minutes to perform.

  • How many MLD massage sessions will I need?

    The number of MLD massages you require will vary depending on your condition. Most patients benefit from several massages in the first few weeks of their recovery. Patients may undergo between five and 15 massages depending on their personal needs.

  • What plastic surgery procedures can benefit from lymphatic massage during recovery?

    MLD can benefit patients who experience swelling after virtually any plastic surgery procedure. However, some procedures are more likely to cause significant swelling that can be treated with an MLD massage.

    Dr. Bonaldi usually recommends manual lymphatic drainage after the following plastic surgery procedures:

  • How soon after plastic surgery can I get a manual lymphatic drainage massage?

    Some patients can begin manual lymphatic drainage within one to three days of their surgical procedure. MLD can treat fluid accumulation for several months following surgery. However, it is most effective when performed as soon after surgery as possible.

    Patients should discuss lymphatic massages with their plastic surgeon before surgery to determine a plan for lymph drainage after surgery.

  • What should I do after my lymphatic massage?

    After your lymph massage, there are several steps you can take to prevent further lymph fluid buildup. These include:

    • Drink plenty of water. This helps flush out your lymphatic system.
    • Avoid tight clothing (except compression garments). This encourages lymphatic fluid circulation.
    • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. These can inhibit proper lymph circulation.
    • Avoid saunas, hot baths, and deep tissue massages.
  • Are there any risks associated with manual lymphatic drainage?

    Lymphatic massage is generally considered safe and risk-free. However, some side effects may occur following your massage.

    These may include the following:

    • Increased need to urinate
    • Increased chance of diarrhea
    • Temporary nausea or dizziness
    • Fatigue
    • Increased thirst
    • Temporary flu-like symptoms

Schedule Your Visit


Louis A. Bonaldi MD
6630 South McCarran Blvd. Suite B20
Reno, Nevada 89509
(775) 238-3051


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